I wonder if there are some general rules for primary food groups (meat, veggies) that a cook can use to increase/decrease the amount of oil, water, and other compounds uptaken by the target ingredient from surrounding ingredients.
For example, when baking potatoes, what factors (like temp, time & mixing ratios) would dehydrate them & what factors would help them pick up oils and herb flavors down to the center?
Similarly, when cooking meat, how would time, preparation (e.g. brining), temperature & cooking technique help pick up flavors & oils from additional ingredients in one case, while leave the cut tasteless & gummy in another case?
I guess my question has a lot to do with the level of decomposition that is reached before and during cooking a food. Am I on the right track here & how would I control decomposition in general?